Bruins Looking at Multiple Trades to Keep Red Hot Dmitry Orlov

If the Boston Bruins intend to keep Dmitry Orlov past this season, it could require some serious roster shuffling in the summer. Orlov has fit like a glove since coming over to the Bruins in a pre-deadline deal, but the defenseman is a pending UFA that is looking at a hefty raise on his next contract. In fact, the ask was rumored to be one of the main reasons the Washington Capitals moved on from the red-hot blueliner in the first place.

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According to Kevin Paul Dupont of The Boston Globe: “Word around the Capitals was that Orlov, though well-liked and appreciated, shot too high in asking price and term (between 6-8 years) for a new deal to stay in Washington. He will turn 32 a few weeks after the UFA period opens July 1.”

What Is The Issue For the Bruins?

As Dupont points out, it’s hard to envision the Bruins will have room to fit in what could be a long-term contract worth as much or more than $5.1 million per season. With Charlie McAvoy and Hampus Lindholm both signed to rich, long-term deals, there’s not much room for another hefty blue-line contract, regardless of how good Orlov is playing and how well he’s fit since his arrival.

Dmitry Orlov Boston Bruins
Dmitry Orlov, Boston Bruins (Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Bruins have just over $10 million in cap space for next season, but they have goaltender Jeremy Swayman as a 24-year-old pending RFA and also need to sign new deals with six pending UFA forwards and two UFA defensemen. If Orlov comes in at around $5 million (and that might be generous), that will eat half of the remaining cap space the Bruins have to work with. Even if the Bruins can get Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci signed to team-friendly deals again, GM Don Sweeney might have just a shade over $2 million to fit everyone else in.

What Is The Solution for the Bruins?

Dupont suggests that multiple trades might be the way the Bruins have to go if their thought is to keep Orlov around. He writes that when you take a closer look at the blue line corps, the most logical solution might be to trade Brandon Carlo or Matt Grzelcyk. Carlo makes $4.1 million over the next four seasons after this one, while Grezelcyk is owed $3.68 million in 2023-24.

In fact, if the Bruins are looking at keeping Orlov and players like Tyler Bertuzzi and/or Garnet Hathaway, the team might need to move both Carlo and Grzelcyk. One has to ask if that’s a hefty price to pay to keep a 32-year-old around and into the years of his career where he’s bound to show a sharp decline in production.

Is It Better Not To Move Heaven and Earth to Keep Orlov?

Orlov coming to the Bruins clearly makes them a strong team this season. Even if he tests free agency and signs elsewhere this offseason, should the team go on a long run, the price Sweeney paid to acquire the blueliner will have been arguably worth it. And, as Dupont points out, sometimes the best scenario is for things to take their natural course.

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He cited the 2004 acquisition of Sergei Gonchar as an example. While the team was excited to acquire him and paid a hefty price to do so, that was a defenseman who proved to be little more than a 22-game rental. Gonchar ultimately signed a five-year, $25 million with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He helped the Penguins, but his departure also helped the Bruins. Dupont explained:

Had Gonchar opted to stay with the Bruins, signed to a fresh deal for 2005-06, no telling how that might have changed the course of the club’s history. The following summer, with new GM Peter Chiarelli having replaced the fired O’Connell, the Bruins signed Zdeno Chara as the anchor of the organization’s rebuild.

source – ‘Connor McDavid is expected to run away with it, but Linus Ullmark is worthy of Hart Trophy consideration’ – Kevin Paul Dupont -The Boston Globe – 03/11/2023